Early childhood educators in the United States are underpaid and in economic distress, with many lacking access to services and benefits such as health care and paid leave, a report from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley finds. Funded by the Foundation for Child Development, the Alliance for Early Success, and the Heising-Simons, W.K. Kellogg, W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone, and David and Lucile Packard foundations, the report, Early Childhood Workforce Index 2018 (191 pages, PDF), found that although median wages among the nation’s two million childcare workers rose 7 percent overall between 2015 and 2017, in every state it was less than two-thirds of the median wage for all occupations, with women of color, who represent 40 percent of the early childhood workforce, disproportionately affected. As a result of low wages and lack of benefits, 53 percent of childcare workers qualified for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and/or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). As in CSCCE’s 2016 report, the index found that most states were “stalled” or only “edging forward” in addressing key early childhood workforce policies, including strengthening qualifications and educational supports to better prepare teachers; ensuring workplace environments that support ongoing assessment, development, and well-being; and providing some measure of economic security and retaining effective educators.